TUPELO, Miss. (WLBT) - Park rangers recently pulled over several 18-wheelers that they say are ruining the Natchez Trace Parkway.
The first stop occurred Wednesday morning, near mile marker 250, in which four semi-trucks were pulled over. That afternoon, two more trucks were pulled over by the same park ranger, according to a Trace news release.
“Despite increasing signage and enforcement, commercial vehicles on the parkway remain a recurring problem,” said Supervisory Park Ranger John Hearne. “The parkway is not wide enough for large trucks and the roadbed was never built for their weight.
“The poor condition of the parkway is caused, in part, by overweight vehicles.”
In all cases, the drivers were cited, the release states.
Rangers are urging motorists who spot commercial vehicles to contact their communications center as soon as it is safe to do so.
“We are concerned about commercial vehicles being on the parkway,” Chief Ranger Prashant Lotwala said in a statement. “Natchez Trace Parkway is a unit of the National Park Service and should be utilized for outdoor recreational activities and for scenic drives.
“The parkway should not be used by commercial vehicles, including semi-trucks.”
Trace officials posted news of the stop on the parkway Facebook page, with many saying they supported the rangers.
“So glad to see this is being taken care of,” one woman wrote. “We really enjoy driving the parkway, but the trucks made it not so enjoyable the last time we were there.”
“Hopefully, the fine is large enough to be an actual deterrent and not just a slap on the wrist,” one man added.
Meanwhile, another poster said the truck drivers should have known better. “Report everyone you see. The Trace isn’t for commercial hauling,” he said.
Officials ask residents to call 1-800-300-PARK (7275) if they see an unauthorized vehicle.